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Are men benefiting from the new economy : male economic marginalization in Argentina, Brazil, and Costa Rica

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  • Arias, Omar

Abstract

The economies of Latin America have undergone extensive reforms, raising concerns about how these changes have affected the labor market. But there is also increasing concern that the reforms may have deeper social ramifications as the new economies strain the ability of certain groups of men to work and to earn good wages, fulfilling their traditional role as providers. Using household surveys broadly covering the period 1988-97 in urban areas of Argentina, Brazil, and Costa Rica, Arias examines the patterns of unemployment and real wage growth for distinct groups of male workers to see whether there is evidence of a deterioration in men's ability to be economically self-sufficient. He finds no general trend of male economic marginalization. The incidence and duration of unemployment have increased the most for the typically vulnerable group-young, less educated, informal sector workers-but the increased duration of unemployment hasalso affected older and more educated men. With respect to wages, density and quantile regression analysis indicates that the usual stories of wage marginalization of vulnerable workers can hardly explain the observed variety of wage growth patterns in the three countries. The positive wage performance has been concentrated mainly in the higher quantiles of the conditional wage distribution. This suggests that differences in unobservable worker characteristics, such as industriousness, labor market connections, and quality of schooling, have been key determinants of the ability of male workers in the region to adapt to economic restructuring. These results suggest that assistance should be targeted to some groups so that frustrations in asserting an economic identity do not lead to aggressive behavior. But they also show that we must look elsewhere for the roots of the increase in socially dysfunctional behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Arias, Omar, 2001. "Are men benefiting from the new economy : male economic marginalization in Argentina, Brazil, and Costa Rica," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2740, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2740
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wood, Adrian, 1997. "Openness and Wage Inequality in Developing Countries: The Latin American Challenge to East Asian Conventional Wisdom," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 33-57, January.
    2. Omar Arias & Walter Sosa-Escudero & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "Individual heterogeneity in the returns to schooling: instrumental variables quantile regression using twins data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 7-40.
    3. Eli Bekman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1998. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1245-1279.
    4. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521845731.
    5. Mwabu, Germano & Schultz, T Paul, 1996. "Education Returns across Quantiles of the Wage Function: Alternative Explanations for Returns to Education by Race in South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 335-339, May.
    6. Maloney, William F. & Pontual Ribeiro, Eduardo, 1999. "Efficiency wage and union effects in labor demand and wage structure in Mexico - An application of quantile analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2131, The World Bank.
    7. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    8. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cunningham, Wendy V., 2001. "Sectoral allocation by gender of Latin American workers over the liberalization period of the 1990s," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2742, The World Bank.

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